What is Vaping? A Beginner’s Guide to E-Cigarettes

What is Vaping? A Beginner’s Guide to E-Cigarettes

14 January | Daniel Hollyman

Menthol Cigarette (Image)

What is Vaping?

Vaping has been designed as a less harmful alternative to smoking. Vaping will satisfy your nicotine cravings, but without the harmful side effects associated with smoking cigarettes. If you don’t smoke or you are under eighteen, then we do not recommend you start vaping. This guide was created to help smokers understand what vaping is and how it can benefit you. Perhaps you don’t vape, but you know someone, like a family member or friend, who currently smokes and could benefit from a point in the right direction.

This beginner’s guide will break down the key topics surrounding vaping into easy-to-understand sections. We’ll be covering the benefits of vaping, what types of kit are available, and which starter vape kit will best suit you.

Is Vaping Harmful?

This is probably the most frequently asked question made by smokers considering the switch to vaping - and it’s a very important one. Vaping was specifically designed to be less harmful alternative to smoking - but is it?

When it comes to vaping there is no tobacco, no combustion and no dangerous chemicals. This simple difference is the main reason why vaping is less harmful than smoking. In 2015 Public Health England released a landmark study E-Cigarettes: An Evidence Update’ which concluded that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

Alongside this assessment by Public Health England, the wider scientific community also supports the view that vaping is a far safer alternative.

There is a misconception among the public that e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking; however, research to date indicates that they are less harmful as they don’t contain tobacco or involve combustion.

Cancer Research, 2018

Our results also suggest that while e-cigarettes are not only safer, the amount of nicotine they provide is not noticeably different to conventional cigarettes. This can help people to stop smoking altogether by dealing with their cravings in a safer way.

University College London, 2017

Although it is not possible to precisely quantify the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products and may well be substantially lower than this figure.

The Royal College of Physicians, 2017

The NHS, who have long advocated for vaping as a smoking cessation method, have aimed to dispel the myths surrounding vaping, stating, ‘Many people think nicotine is very harmful to health. In fact, although nicotine is addictive, it's the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause almost all the harm from smoking.

NHS Stoptober Campaign, 2012

What are the Benefits of Vaping?

There are a number of benefits to vaping, but only if you’re a smoker. We never recommend vaping to anyone under the age of eighteen, or anyone who isn’t already a smoker.

1) Less Harmful than Smoking

Many ongoing studies have pointed to the harm reducing qualities of vaping over smoking cigarettes. Continually more and more health bodies have come forward in support of making the switch, including Public Health England, NHS, The Royal College of Physicians and The British Heart Foundation.

2) Help you Quit Smoking

Tragically, smoking has been reported as the number one cause of preventable death in the world. The most obvious advantage of switching to vaping is that it is an effective quitting tool. Increasingly, people are seeing the effectiveness of vaping as an alternative to smoking and there are approximately 2.8 million people currently using e-cigarettes in the UK (Office for National Statistics).

3) Save Money

Cost is a driving force behind people looking to give up smoking, particularly in Western Europe and North America where cigarette prices are very high. If you are a regular smoker, we estimate you can save over £3,000 per year by making the switch.

4) Better Personal Hygiene

What a lot of people forget to consider are the cosmetic effects that smoking can have. The negative effects are well-documented, from bad breath to the discolouration of your fingers, hair and reduced elasticity of your skin. Vaping will have none of these effects on your body.

What is a Vaping Kit?

First of all, congratulations on taking the first step towards vaping. As a beginner, you’ll need to choose a kit and some e-liquid and get started, it’s as simple as that. When you’re starting out, you’ll want something simple and trustworthy. All vape kits generally work in the same way; they all feature a power source and a tank that serves to store and heat e-liquid until it vaporises.

These kits fall under the category ‘Vape Starter Kit’. Each kit will contain all of the hardware you need to start vaping. Be careful though, with some kits you may need to buy the e-liquid separately. These kits may look slightly different, but they all work in the same way, with a battery providing the power that is converted into heat by the coil, to vaporise e-liquid.

Types of Vape Kit

1) Pod Kit

Pod kits have become popular in recent years because they are arguably the simplest vape kit available, they are made up of a refillable or prefilled e-liquid pod and a battery. There are some key differences between the two.

Prefilled pod kits require the smallest amount of maintenance, they use pods that are prefilled with e-liquid available in different nicotine strengths and flavours (and a good place to start as a beginner!). Once empty these are discarded and replaced with a new one.

Refillable pod kits offer more choice with regards to nicotine strength and flavours, as vapers are expected to choose their own e-liquid. The pods themselves can be filled and refilled multiple times, only needing to be changed when the performance deteriorates, or it starts to taste bad.

2) Cigalike

Designed to look and function like a cigarette, the cigalike is the traditional vaping kit. There are fully disposable versions and prefilled models, both of which come in different flavours and nicotine strengths. If you choose the disposable version, there is next to no maintenance required. Once the cartridge is empty, you can throw it away and start using a new one. The prefilled models feature replaceable cartridges that are filled with e-liquid and are fitted onto a battery.

3) Open Tank Kit

Open tank kits feature a combination of a tank and a battery. Before the introduction of pod kits, the open tank kit was the recommended choice for new users and is still very popular today. Vapers are required to perform regular but basic upkeep; this includes refilling the tank and changing your coil when flavour or performance deteriorates. You can choose your own e-liquid with kits like this, again giving you more choice over flavour and nicotine strength.